Supporting a Friend Experiencing Stalking
If a friend thinks they are being stalked, it can be frightening trying to process and understand how to help. These are a few tips for how to be a supportive friend or partner if someone comes to you:
Believe them: Many stalking victims* hesitate to tell anyone because they fear others will think they are overreacting or crazy. It’s important to tell the survivor that you know that you believe them, and you want to help.
Help them identify resources: There are many resources available to victims of stalking. See the Student Resource Guide for an explanation of resources and options available.
Offer to accompany them: Stalking can deprive a survivor of a sense of safety and security. Help your friend feel comfortable by offering to go with them places. You can also seek help and safety accommodations from the University through The Title IX Coordinator and the Office of the Dean of Students.
Help them document the stalker’s behavior: An important step for a stalking victim to take is to document contacts by and communications from the stalker. You can assist your friend in recording any communications or times they have seen or been approached by the stalker.
>> Download a stalker tracking form in .pdf format.
Help them make changes to adhere to a safety plan: Several resources, such as the Title IX Coordinator, ODOS, the Women’s Center, the police, CAPS, the Sexual Assault Resource Agency and the Shelter for Help in Emergency. Safety plans can often ask that a survivor make changes to their living address, mailing address, transportation routes and other aspects about their lives. You can support by helping them navigate making changes.
Be an active and supportive listener: When the survivor wants to talk about what’s happening, be open to what they want to share and do not press for more. Ask how you can be helpful rather than try to suggest what you would do instead. Focus on how they are feeling and let them know that it is ok to feel that way.
Seek out support for yourself: As a supporter, you may also feel frightened, angry, anxious or unsafe. Be sure to seek out protective measures from the Title IX coordinator or the police if you feel like you are in danger. Seek out a counselor to help process your emotions.
For more information and resources, see:
*We know that there are differing opinions about when it is appropriate to use the terms “survivor” or “victim.” On this page we use the term “survivor” to refer to people who have experienced sexual or gender based violence to denote the healing process and redefining of one’s identity that takes place after an assault. When the term “victim” is used, it will refer to someone actively experiencing violence or abuse, or when sexual violence is described in the context of the criminal justice system.